There may have been a time when the terms Democrat and Republican meant something, but those days are long gone, to the extent they ever really existed. The truth is, there were always liberal, moderate and conservative elements in both parties and, depending upon which side controlled the party apparatus, there was always one side in each party that felt uncomfortable with the direction their party leadership was taking them.
No disagreement within a party was so great, however, such that where a democrat or republican felt disenfranchised from their party’s platform they felt the need to bolt their party and go elsewhere. Even when Gov. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania was denied the right to speak at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he was believed to have prepared a strongly worded speech in opposition to abortion, a position the Clintons did not want advanced at Clinton’s convention. Democrats cheered when Clinton took to the platform and Clinton was elected president. The party was divided, but intact.
The two major exceptions to the rule of party block voting were the campaigns of 1980 and 1984 when Ronald Reagan won 44 and then 49 of 50 states respectively, campaigning as a conservative who pulled strongly from all political camps: Democrat, Republican and Independents.
For those who took the time to note, something significant had occurred when the American people coalesced around a candidate they could identify with, not primarily as a republican, but as a conservative who happened to be a republican. The party label was subsumed by the overwhelming public perception that Ronald Reagan was “one of us.” Party be damned, Americans liked what Reagan said and how he said it; he inspired the best in all of us, and was rewarded with very rare political landslides, not just electorally, but in numbers of Americans making the switch as well. He carried Massachusetts, in 1984, remember.
After Reagan, the two political parties regained their standing with their respective memberships, largely because both parties were different then than they are now. And with the exception of Ross Perot who, for a brief period of time in 1992, led in polls as the choice of the American public for president of the United States, third party candidates of credible stature – Independent, Libertarian, American Party, have not had much of an effect on the political landscape.
However, the American political landscape has undergone a gradual sea change of truly historic importance over the past twenty years and the American public is just beginning to grasp the significance of that change. Their unhappiness with both parties is manifest in the polls.
Slowly, gradually, the Democratic Party has abandoned the working class, he Reagan Democrats, of which there are still a lot. The new Democratic Party is more closely aligned today with policies that champion illegal immigration, class envy, and promoting a growing segment of society dependent on social programs and welfare handouts, from food stamps and EBT cards to Obama phones with prepaid allowances, and much more.
In fairness these programs have been created, financed, expanded upon and structured on socialist policies supported by both political parties that advance agendas not supported by vast majorities of the American people. A recent Gallop poll pointed to an important and growing trend: Americans are rejecting liberalism. Forty percent of Americans identify as conservative, 35 percent as moderates and only 21 percent as liberals. Since President Obama’s election the spending and taxing policies of the Democratic Party have moved our nation even past liberalism toward full blown socialism.
The Republican Party has failed as well. Its leadership has ridden on the coattails of the Democratic Party and with few exceptions has wasted much of our national wealth on social spending for programs that don’t work and contribute toward a growing, cancerous welfare state; (Remember it was under Nixon that affirmative action programs grew and under George W. Bush that government spending on social engineering policies was expended under the guise of compassionate conservatism). Even when his party controlled both houses, G.W. Bush continued federal bureaucracies that should have long ago been dismantled or at minimum scaled back.
Our nation now teeters on national insolvency with trillion dollar deficits that stagger the mind. More and more Americans complain that their government is heading in the wrong direction, but don’t appear to see the problem as one they themselves created. A recent NBC/WSJ poll found that 60 percent of Americans want to fire the whole bunch in congress and start anew. Of course this would be a mistake, since that sweep would include the very members of congress who want to get government spending under control, strengthen our national defense and end social programs that do little more than encourage largesse. It's worth repeating: 60 percent of Americans believe a new political party is warranted.
What these numbers show is very simple: the two political parties confuse, more than enlighten the voting public. A liberal Republican, derisively referred to as a RINO Republican, has more in common with the Democratic Party than with the base of the Republican Party, or conservative republicans. Why vote for a RINO Republican when a bone-fide liberal Democrat is around to do the job? Americans seem to agree: Dole, McCain, Romney all failed miserably to bring together a solid conservative base or pull democratic voters away from their party loyalties.
And as for the Democratic Party, the truth is, there is no moderate or conservative Democrat Party any longer, since the Democratic Party has shown itself incapable of fostering individuals who disagree with the socialistic drift of their leadership. The Democratic Party has morphed, instead, into a Socialist Democratic Party, along European lines And while Republicans fare not much better, it is worth recalling that not one Republican voted for Obama care in either the House or Senate. Few in either party bothered to read the 2,000-plus page Affordable Care Act before passing it. The bill now is bolstered by 11.6 million words of regulations, amounting to more than 30 times the size of the original bill itself – and Americans are supposed to believe that this gigantic pile of regulations will lessen the cost of and improve health care? Name one Socialist country where this is the case. Our political leaders seem to have overlooked one fact: the world comes to America for its health care. Obama and the Democrats want to destroy that very system by adopting a socialist model that stifles the very thing that makes our system so coveted.
It is truly amazing that democrats in the House actually elect leaders like Nancy Pelosi who say, "We have to pass the bill (Obamacare) before you can find out what's in it." This imbecilic reasoning is what has become of the United States Congress. Incredibly, it is to these people that we entrust our future and the future of this nation’s children. They are a disgrace! Republicans elect leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who say they want to negotiate, but never seem to finish their sentence by telling us what specifically they want to negotiate away or why. Their agenda seems to be “dealing” with one another.
For the above reasons a new political party cannot be just another branch of the Republican or Democratic Party. The break needs to be complete and permanent. Instead a new political party should be able to draw elected officials from both parties and from the public at large and identify itself with the conservative elements in both, which I believe constitute the vast majority of American voters
What about the existing third parties, one might ask. Sadly the existing third parties, including the Independent and Libertarian parties have not attracted widespread appeal, sufficient to either attract new members or draw large scale defections from either of the two major parties that are wrecking this country. Independent is too amorphous a term and Libertarian is perhaps further than most people are prepared to go, for some government in our lives is necessary. A good example of the confusion that exists in these names is found in the 2012 presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, a good man and decent governor of New Mexico. He identified himself as more socially liberal than democrats but more fiscally conservative than republicans. In other words, his candidacy did little to clear up the confusion that surrounds the political mess we have today.
America does not need yet another political party hopelessly divided between conservative thinkers and liberal ideologues.
So where does that leave us? As noted, a growing majority of Americans identify themselves as conservative and moderates, but when it comes to national elections for the president and members of congress they have A) only two parties with divided agendas to represent them and B) third parties with vague candidates and, in some cases, too radical agendas to draw majority support. The base of the Republican Party is conservative, The working men and women of the old Democratic Party are conservative. We don’t need more candidates who utter nonsense like, ‘I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market,” G.W. Bush; or “We have to pass the bill (Obamacare) before you can find out what's in it." Nancy Pelosi.
It’s time to bring this empty-headed nonsense to an end.
A new Conservative Party can draw from those working men and women in the Democratic and Republican parties who are sickened by the socialist welfare state leanings of their party leadership and tired of seeing their language, culture and borders wiped away by parties that think all three are irrelevant to the next generation. The Tower of Babel to them is just biblical story-telling that has little meaning in today’s world. They couldn’t be more wrong.
How might a Conservative Party sell itself? Let’s take for example two examples: the education department and the TSA, under the Department of Homeland Security. How we treat these two bureaucracies might be a guide on how to treat all of the federal government.
The Education Department, for example, functioned more or less as an information outlet for the states between 1867 and 1972, until Jimmy Carter made it a 5,000 employee cabinet level department boondoggle in 1980 that now administers a $69.8 billion dollar a year budget. It educates no one and serves less as an outlet for the latest studies and recommendations to local school districts, than a regulator and distributor of funds for its favored social programs and enforcer of fines and penalties for those who don't toe the line.
Another example, after 911 the government felt the need to federalize airport security and form a new Transportation Security Administration, or TSA in 2001 to provide security at our nation’s airports. Today, there are 47,000 employees in the TSA, earning between $25,000 and $38,000 a year. Is it really necessary to have federalized employees do this job? This was a function that had been performed, better I might add, by the airlines since the first airline passenger planes took flight. The problem with pre-911 security was not that the airlines ran a poor security system, although they needed improvement, but rather that America allowed Saudis of doubtful legal status to learn to fly planes one way, and no federal agency thought anything of it.
Throughout America there was no uniform standard for security being followed. This could have been easily corrected by a directive from the federal government setting standards for airport security after 911. There is no reason to believe that post-911 the airlines, could not do a better job or have a greater interest in their own security and success, than federalized TSA agents, who have had a shaky history of their own and who only add to the public debt. Both the Department of Homeland Security and TSA need not exist, as their functions can and should be provided by existing agencies. Greater cooperation, communication and coordination, not more government is the answer. Indeed, it seems the main function of the Department of Homeland Security nowadays is to ensure that our border and ICE agents scale back their enforcement of our nation’s borders and gut our immigration laws.
These are but two examples where a Conservative Party might call, not for the elimination of the function, but rather a restructuring of the way the government addresses legitimate needs at a significantly reduced cost.
The point is this: with a government running trillion dollar yearly deficits, and no end in sight for greater spending and even larger deficits under a grossly underestimated socialist healthcare system, we still found time to give pre-paid “Obama phones” phones away, dump $3 billion into a program to buy new cars for consumers under the cash for clunkers program, continue to underwrite bad loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in spite of a housing collapse that was itself triggered by government regulations that demanded banks make bad loans or face discrimination lawsuits, and raise the nation’s debt limit so the government can take in and spend more and more. Neither the democratic nor republican parties have shown they have the common sense or will to see where this is all heading. To them it's all a big party about good deals.
The two parties really do believe that national bankruptcy is an illusion and that the social turmoil that will surely follow is but a scare tactic of the political right. All talk of enduring for a better future is demagoguery; there will be only a bleak future if we do not change our ways. We survived the Great Depression only because men and women who lost work in those days, sought work -- any work to feed, clothe and house their families. There was no welfare class between 1929 and 1940 that equaled the size of the working class. Public work for public pay was expected in a social environment where work for pay was the norm. Is that what is expected today? If this nation’s economy collapsed today, and food and services were scarce, what sort of turmoil would boil over in our inner cities, soon to spread everywhere? Look what's happening around the world as socialist economies collapse.
The message for the new Conservative Party could be simple:
As You Live, We Will Govern.
Its founding principles should be clearly stated and clearly understood. Its policies might look as follows:
On National Defense.
Provide as a top priority for our nation’s defense.
In this vein the government could provide generous tax relief from a national sales tax for businesses that provide services to achieve these national goals, revitalizing our lagging space efforts with a focus on both exploration and designing new technologies to avert disaster from errant asteroids or comets that could negatively impact life on earth as we know it. Encourage new jobs, new technology, new science and new opportunities in varied fields in the private sector for these industries.
On the role of the federal government:
Where possible return responsibly to the states for those functions that are duplicated by the federal government, with few exceptions. Only those function that the federal government must perform, should it perform.
Minimize the federal bureaucracy and reduce the state tax burden at all levels of the federal government. The federal government should live within its means and prioritize spending based on legitimate needs, not wants of its citizens and its function should be to assist with and support, not manage state functions.
Adopt only those regulations that common sense and the public good require. Eliminate regulations that stifle reasonable and responsible growth.
On social programs:
Require some form of work for from the able-bodied to receive public benefits like EBT or Medicaid and set limits on how long these policies and benefits will remain in effect for otherwise capable individuals. The emphasis should be on assistance, not lifestyle.
The Conservative Party should take pride in assisting the needy: elderly, handicapped, destitute. But it should be dogged in its management of these and other programs and cut programs that fulfill a growing public want at the expense of meeting a genuine public need.
On immigration reform:
Remove all benefits, except emergency care, for those who entered and live in our country illegally and end the practice of giving citizenship, free education, housing and other benefits to the same.
Children born in this country to parents who entered this country illegally are born in America to foreign parents. America has no claim to their citizenship over that of their own parents, nor they to ours. Exceptions to the rule should be few, well-defined and strictly enforced.
Protect our borders with increased border security and deportation of law breakers, including those who entered this country illegally.
For foreigners who come here legally, require that they adapt to a common language, a common culture, a common history, a common social norm and standard of conduct among civilized people.
Begin imposing six month prison terms on those who hire immigrants who enter our country illegally.
On our judicial system:
Reign in our judicial system so that judges apply the law, not “interpret” it to their own liking. If a law is vague, it is up to the legislative and executive branch to clear up any ambiguity. It is not up to unelected, unaccountable judges to do the work for them.
On tax reform:
Eliminate yearly trillion dollar deficit spending and spend only that which is budgeted.
Eliminate the income tax altogether and instead adopt a national sales tax. It is the only tax whereby Americans can decide how much they are willing to pay. This proposal eliminates most of the IRS altogether. Under this plan, the higher the tax rate the government sets, the less most Americans will by. And everybody will pay into it: rich, poor, legal and under-the-table illegal enterprises. If you purchase a good, you pay a tax on it. Reduce your tax by spending less.
Encourage business growth and investment in America with tax policies that give American entrepreneurship the edge and encourage corporations to reinvest in America.
Impose reasonable tariffs on goods coming from foreign nations. And begin to pay off our national debt with these tariffs.
End our dependence on foreign oil and invest in American ingenuity and enterprise to solve our energy needs, advancing safely our natural gas and oil reserves and other sources of potential energy for the next century.
Return the educational function of the federal government to its original purpose: to inform and assist states. Stress educational excellence in our schools by emphasizing in every school at every level: English, History, Science, Geography and Mathematics. Go back to the basics and restore order to our classrooms. Transform the Department of Education into just that, and make its first priority the dissemination of useful information to help achieve these goals.
On personal responsibility:
America was founded by people who accepted personal responsibility for their actions and who looked to their own initiative not a permanent government handout to succeed in life. America prospered and grew while adhering to these principles. It can grow again, but only if it shakes the socialist mentality that seems to have settled in both political parties today. To the extent the government can assist in that movement, it should, for nothing less than the future of our society is at stake.
These are the policies a majority of Americans who identify themselves as conservative and moderate would support, for the natural base of the Republican Party and the traditional base of the Democratic Party: all working men and women who worry about making ends meet when they receive their weekly paycheck, who are not socialists, but hard working individuals who want the government to take a leaner interest in their lives, who want the government to stop wasting money and running deficits and enforce our national borders, bringing a halt to the hemorrhaging of our national language, culture and history. If it isn’t obvious by now, neither of the parties offer such an agenda.
Let the wheelers and dealers of the Republican Party and the big government socialists of the Socialist Democratic Party go their own ways, they will represent the 21 percent of people who support their ideals. As for the rest, their rightful home is where their own common interests and sense lie – with a new party that lives and spends much like the average family: prudently, within their budgets, safe and secure in the knowledge that their nation’s best interests will be second to none and America’s future truly will be assured and bright.
Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians -- all conservatives should be welcomed to the new Conservative Party. I believe the motto I propose for this new party is fitting: As You Live, We Will Govern.